How age affects dental health

As we age, numerous changes happen to our bodies. Our teeth are also susceptible to the effects of aging, which is why we need to make sure that they are in the best possible condition at all times. Adults that are going into their later years are at a greater risk of cavities, gum diseases, and many other dental health issues. Exactly how age affects dental health is different for everyone but there are some consistencies. It is no wonder why many older people choose to take a look at invisible aligner reviews in an effort to maintain their oral health. Maintaining a healthy smile in an aging body can be difficult but it is definitely not impossible. In this article, we are going to go through the effects that age can have on your dental health, as well as what can you do to minimize the effect.

How age affects dental health

As you age, the effects of your habits become readily apparent. Decades of daily use take a toll on your teeth, and the enamel gradually wears down. This makes seniors more prone to tooth damage.

As we age, our nerves get smaller. This means that our teeth are simply not as sensitive as they use to be, making it more difficult to “catch” any potential issues on time. The loss of tooth sensitivity that comes with age precedes numerous other oral issues. You may not even be able to notice small cracks due to the lack of sensitivity. And these cracks will allow bacteria to enter the pulp of the teeth and cause an infection.

person holding a small cookie, symbolizing how age affects dental health by lowering the feeling of taste
As you age, you might find that your feeling of taste gets diminished.

Furthermore, we tend to lose some feeling of taste when we age. This usually “forces” us to add more spices to our food, or partake in hotter dishes. While this is not a problem on its own, it may lead to mouth burns (which can become mouth sores), which make it more difficult to maintain your oral health.

Overall, the aging process is not kind to our teeth, meaning that we need to be extra careful when maintaining them. It is always better to heed the warning signs that you need braces than it is to ignore them. That being said, you may want to be familiar with all the possibilities that come with age, as that will provide you with a greater “fighting chance”.

Common dental health issues that come with age

As a senior, it is quite common to face some oral and dental health issues. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Wear and tear
  • Dry mouth
  • Oral cancer
  • Discoloration

While these problems might be common, that does not mean that you need to succumb to them. With good dental care, you can identify all of these problems early and rectify them before they become significant. But you need to know what to look for in the first place. There are many dental tech trends that are changing the industry and maintaining your oral health is now easier than ever. But you do need to pay attention to your teeth. Let’s take a look at these common dental issues so you have a greater understanding of what to look for.

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Gum disease

One of the most common dental problems found in old adults is gum recession. When your gum tissue pulls away and exposes the tooth’s root, bacteria find it much easier to build up and wreak havoc. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the main “culprit” for receding gums, but they can happen simply from brushing too hard. Which is very easy to do due to the lack of sensitivity that comes with age. While you may be more interested in some of the efficient ways to whiten teeth, you should always be on the lookout for receding gums. If you notice that your tissue is pulling away, it is time to visit your dentist.

people brushing their teeth
Try not to brush your teeth too hard, as that may increase the risk of gum recession.


Cavities are usually a direct product of plaque. Plaque accumulates due to the interaction between sugars/starches from the food and your mouth. Plaque contains harmful acids that damage your enamel and represents one of the greatest dangers for your teeth. It can also lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

The two main reasons for higher plaque buildup in seniors are poor oral care and receding gums. As we age, we tend to place a smaller emphasis on maintaining our oral health. At least most of us do. The answer to this problem is simple, be mindful that you need to continue regularly brushing your teeth no matter how old you get. Simple as that, really.

Wear and tear

A very simple way how age affects dental health can be found in “wear and tear”. While teeth may be extremely strong, all things considered, they are far from indestructible. As we chew, bite, and grind, the outer enamel layer slowly wears down and the biting edges get flattened. Any exposure to carbonated drinks and acidic foods exacerbates this process.

While you can’t do much about wear and tear, what you can do is try to avoid any acidic food and carbonated drinks. They are not ideal for your health in any case, so this advice may serve you well outside of your oral health. Or, at the very least, try to minimize their consumption.

Dry mouth

Did you know that, as we age, our mouth produces less saliva? According to NIH, aging alters the quality and quantity of saliva. This means that many older adults experience “dry mouth”, due to reduced saliva. Of course, some medications and health conditions can also influence saliva production, further exacerbating the issue. But why is saliva so important?

dry mouth as a representation of how age affects dental health
A dry mouth can lead to all sorts of health issues.

Saliva protects our teeth from infections and decay. It plays an extremely important role in maintaining our oral health. Having your body produce less saliva can have significant repercussions, such as:

  • Mouth sores
  • Tooth decay
  • Thrush
  • Problems with chewing and swallowing

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is extremely scary and the risk of it increases with age. There are many factors that increase the chance of oral cancer, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, poor dental/oral hygiene, etc. Furthermore, many seniors are forced to take medicine that weakens their immune system and increases the risk of oral cancer. While none of these factors are as influential in the short term, they become increasingly important as the timespan grows longer.


Over time, enamel wears off and our teeth “become” yellow.

One of the most common, and most benign, issues is the discoloration of our teeth as we age. This happens due to the fact that our tooth enamel wears away with time and exposes the yellow dentin that is beneath. While there are numerous ways to whiten your teeth, you may simply want to accept the fact that your teeth get slightly yellower as you age, it is perfectly natural.

What can you do to lessen the impact of age on your dental health?

As you age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain your oral health. Not because it is suddenly a much more difficult process, it is mostly because you might think that it is not as important anymore. But it is, it is more important than it has ever been! Make sure to maintain your routine and that you brush and floss your teeth every day. Also, try to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth from drying out. You may even want to talk with your dentist about a suitable mouth rinse, as that can significantly help the issue.

Next up, you may want to limit starchy/sweet drinks and food. They contain extra sugar and starch that clings to your teeth, ultimately forming plaque. Avoid these foods as much as you can and you will prevent many an issue from ever occurring. You may want to consider replacing these foodstuffs with the ones that have proper nutrition and are healthy for you.

It goes without saying that you should stop smoking and visit your dentist at regular intervals. If you absolutely cannot stop smoking for whatever reason, try to limit yourself as much as you can. Your teeth will thank you.

Order the best invisible braces and secure the perfect smile today!

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The way how age affects dental health is always unfavorable. But with good dental care, you can stop time in its tracks as far as your teeth are concerned. Always be mindful and take preventative measures and you will have a much greater chance to avoid any major issues. Also, take a look at the rest of the Consumer Opinion Guide, as we have articles that can help you maintain your oral health much easier, as well as help you find the best invisible braces, orthodontists near you, and much more!

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